Some Practical Help for Getting Started This Week

We are all inspired by a hero — someone who shows great courage in risking self in accomplishing a tremendous goal. This week we let ourselves be inspired by the heroic in Jesus. It is his spirit that has inspired and empowered the vision and freedom of countless martyrs and witnesses down through the ages and even in our day.

To get started, we need to read the readings and really experience what it took for Jesus to confront the religious leaders of his day. To enter more deeply into an example of the powerful inspiration of the prophetic spirit in our time we might rent three movies: El Salvador and Romero and Roses in December. They would offer some dramatic images from one country’s struggle for justice to complement the Gospel scenes — especially in the lives of Archbishop Óscar Romero and Jean Donovan, who along with three American nuns, was brutally murdered in El Salvador.

We are approaching the part of Jesus’ life that will call him to journey to Jerusalem and surrender his life. He does this not as a passive and meaningless victim of some insane force. Jesus spoke what he had become — God’s Word, for us.

We are also moving through these weeks of the retreat with part of our minds and hearts reflecting on how we will be changed by this experience. Our desire to choose more freely — which is being shaped by our growing admiration and love for Jesus — becomes more and more concrete. This week we continue to let ourselves be drawn to Jesus, because our desire to be with him will indeed transform our day-to-day lives.

As we wake each day, we recall his prophetic clarity, how he came to proclaim liberty to captives and to bring good news to the poor as their advocate. During the day, in all the background times, we will be more sensitized to see the forces at work that are contrary to religious values, contrary to the dignity of human life, contrary to justice. As we read the paper or listen to the news, we will better hear the cry of the poor in world and local headlines, and we will be more attuned to the voices that speak for values and justice. Each evening we can speak our thanks to Jesus for showing us who he is for us and how he is, even now, drawing us to be with him in being women and men for others.

Please consider sharing the graces you receive with others making this retreat by going to the online retreat Web page and clicking on the “To Share” link. Graces given to you may help in ways you will never know, in building up the courage and faith of others.

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